Sustainability Requirement

Posted on February 10th, 2022 by

In May 2019, President Bergman announced the Presidential Environmental & Sustainability Initiatives for Gustavus. The Curriculum Committee was charged to consider incorporating a sustainability education component into the general education curriculum as a part of these initiatives.

This January, the Curriculum Committee voted against adding a Sustainability Requirement to the general education requirements. On February 19th, 2022, Faculty will vote on the Curriculum Committee’s ruling.

Please fill out this survey to share your thoughts on whether or not the Sustainability Requirement should be adopted. This survey will close on February 17th, 2022.


  • March 2019: Students organize a “Groundswell Day” advocating for campus-wide climate action including sustainability education in the form of a general education requirement. Students present at a faculty meeting and send letters to the faculty senate and curriculum committee advocating action.
  • April 2019: Faculty Senate votes “to charge the Curriculum Committee with devising a way to grant a sustainability ‘graduation requirement’ status.”
  • May 2019: Faculty pass a resolution that states “we the faculty urge the Curriculum Committee to propose an environmental requirement to the curriculum”
  • May 2019: President Bergman announces Presidential Environmental & Sustainability Initiatives, among which the President mentions “the Curriculum Committee will be considering ways to incorporate a sustainability education component into the general education curriculum during Fall 2019.” 
  • September-October 2019: Environmental Studies Faculty bring proposal for a SUS Designation for the general education curriculum to the Faculty Meeting.
  • January 2022: Curriculum Committee votes down SUS Designation for general education curriculum.
  • February 19th, 2022: Faculty Committee will vote on the Curriculum Committee’s ruling.

Intention of SUS Ed Req (Official Language): 

Course Description: The sustainability requirement seeks to address an understanding of environmental sustainability through courses from across disciplines. In sustainability courses, students will become more aware of the various definitions of environmental sustainability, gain an understanding of at least one environmental sustainability issue, and explore responses (political, economic, social, historical, personal, and others) to environmental sustainability challenges. In addition to examining issues of sustainability through the aforementioned frameworks, students will gain an understanding of how the study of environmental sustainability intersects with issues of social, cultural, racial, and/or economic inequities.

Criteria: Sustainability courses will…

  1. Discuss understanding of environmental sustainability including, but not limited to, viewpoints related to ethical, religious, indigenous, scientific, humanistic, social science, historical, artistic, social, cultural, or political lenses.
  2. Include a project or assignment that addresses at least one of the viewpoints above.
  3. Ask students to reflect upon the role of individuals as they study responses to issues of environmental sustainability.

Standardized Learning Outcome: Environmental Sustainability students will…

  1. Be able to evaluate environmental concerns from at least one viewpoint be it ethical, scientific, artistic, religious, indigenous, humanistic, social, economic, historical, geographic, cultural, or political.
  2. Respond to an environmental concern/problem by completing a student task for an in-class or broader audience

Important Points of Information:

  • According to research completed by the Provost’s Office, no new classes would need to be created to address student’s need to meet this designation. There are enough courses in existence in at least 17 departments across campus.
  • Students complete the curriculum they begin their college career in, meaning current students’ graduation requirements will not change. Future GAC students will have a Sustainability requirement. 
  • Courses can have up to two designations within the general education curriculum.

Comments are closed.